Tuesday, April 1, 2008

No April Fool: US Cellular Gets No Respect

I watched a short interview on CNBC this morning with John Rooney, CEO of US Cellular. It's CEO Week at CNBC, and Rooney was the best they could get from the wireless world. However, he was introduced as CEO of a "small regional carrier" and was captioned as serving "Chicago & Milwaukee." Most of us know US Cellular as one of the largest regional carriers serving territory in almost 20 states, and with recent acquisitions of 700 MHz, AWS and PCS spectrum, could serve even more.

However, the interviewer was right, that US Cellular has been slow to introduce the advanced services many of us enjoy from both larger and smaller carriers. The CEO actually admitted they have been "experimenting" with EV-DO for the last few years, and that only 35% of their markets will see EV-DO by the end of 2008. Still, US Cellular gets high marks from us, and customers, and has very low churn (turnover). While it seems they are expanding, they need to pick up the pace considering that they are the #6 cellular company, and serve far fewer urban areas than the #7 and #8 carriers, Metro PCS & Cricket.

Mr. Rooney also emphasized the company is not looking to sell out and we hope that's true. But if they don't start offering more advanced features, we're gonna cry...someone's gonna sneak up and grab 'em...no Foolin'.

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